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Merwin K. Hart papers

Identifier: Coll 121

Scope and Contents

The Merwin K. Hart Papers consist almost entirely of records of the National Economic Council, its predecessor, the New York State Economic Council, and the spinoff organizations such as the Committee for the Revival of Private Enterprise of which Hart was also the head. The records include information on meetings, publications, addresses, correspondence, statements to Congressional committees, position papers, internal committee files, and reports of Hart's European trips. Of special interest are the files the House Select Committee on Lobbying Activities (the Buchanan Committee) which investigated the National Economic Council in 1950.

The files also include records of the Educational Advisory Committee, which prepared reports on the school systems of Little Falls, New York, and Niagara Falls, New York, as well as reports on social science textbooks (particularly those by Harold Rugg) and on an economics textbook written by Lorie Tarshis.

Major correspondents include Flamen Ball, John B. Bently, William F. Buckley, Jr., Martin Dies, Frank E. Gannett, James H. Gipson, Robert LeFevre, Manuel Maestro, Benjamin Minifie, J. Earl Schaefer, Samuel M. Shoemaker, Robert A. Taft, J. Howard Pew, A. K. Chesterton, George W. Robnett, and Gerald L. K. Smith.


  • 1929-1962


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Merwin K. Hart was born in 1881 in Utica, New York and educated at Harvard University from which he was graduated in 1904. He read law and was admitted to the New York bar in 1911. In 1914, he formed the Utica Mutual Workmen's Compensation Insurance Company, later the Utica Mutual Insurance Company.

After service in World War I, Hart became increasingly concerned about the problems of government spending and taxation. With James W. Gerard, Hart planned and held the New York State-wide Economic Congress in April, 1929 in order to discuss and search for solutions to those problems. The 1929 economic congress appointed the Committee of Twenty-Five that reorganized in 1931 as the New York State Economic Council with Hart as its president. It was dedicated to the twin goals of lowering taxes and reducing government spending. In 1943, the name was changed to the National Economic Council and actively promoted conservativism in politics and economics.

Although Hart and Franklin Roosevelt were Harvard schoolmates and acquaintances, the two were often great distances apart. Hart, in spite of his service on the Governor's Budget Advisory Commission under Roosevelt, worked in opposition to Roosevelt and his programs.

Hart was also a member of Robert Welch's John Birch Society and served as the head of the New York City Branch until his death in 1962.


8.5 linear feet (9 containers)

Language of Materials



Merwin K. Hart (1881-1962) was a lawyer and political figure who founded the New York State Economic Council. The collection contains records from the National Economic Council.


Collection is organized into the following series:

National Economic Council material Personal material

Other Finding Aids

Paper finding aid with additional information available in Special Collections & University Archives.

Other Finding Aids

See the Collective Name Index to the Research Collection of Conservative and Libertarian Studies for a cross-referenced index to names of correspondents in this collection, if any, and 37 related University of Oregon collections, including dates of correspondence. See index instructions on use.

Processing Information

Collection processed by manuscripts processor.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the Merwin K. Hart Papers
Complete Description
Findin aid prepared by processing staff
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Finding aid written in English.
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA